How one brokerage turned obstacles into drivers for growth
NFS mortgage brokerage is living proof of the success that can be achieved with a mindset acknowledging “the obstacle is the way“. A partnership between two former co-workers, founded in 2016, the business grew by 28% to $233m in 2020 alone. Their experience and approach provide key learnings for similarly resilient brokers.
The secret sauce behind the growth story
NFS was built on networking the old-fashioned way; diligently engaging with finance professionals at countless PD days and industry events across the country year in, year out. While time-consuming, these events built an active and lucrative network of more than 20 partnered referrers that now funnel NFS a steady stream of enquiries on a daily basis.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, NFS’s owners employed a similar approach to that used during the Banking Royal Commission, asking themselves: how do we traverse a once in a lifetime event and come out of it in a better position? Their response was to explore different ways of mining the network they had spent years tirelessly nurturing.
They quickly discovered this network comprised largely of financial services organisations with multiple practices that were becoming less interested in their “ancillary” mortgage broking operations. The opportunity identified by NFS was to approach those partners with an appetite for divesting their mortgage broking arms, make a compelling offer and then acquire those books.
The upside of this approach was manifold. It allowed NFS to rapidly grow its book through referrals and provided numerous opportunities to buy trail books from its partners at favourable multiples. It also enabled NFS to add value by supporting its partners’ growth – allowing them to focus on their core business and ensuring their client-base always had access to the funding they required to finance other transactions.
How they funded their big idea
In order to execute its acquisition strategy, NFS needed funding. The business owners spoke to their aggregator and were referred to a number of lenders, including trail book finance experts TrailBlazer Finance. After disappointing experiences with larger first tier lenders that didn’t understand their business, NFS reached out to TrailBlazer Finance and learned they could unlock the value of their trail book through specialised lending.
Harnessing TrailBlazer Finance’s low-rate SME Government Guarantee (SMEGG) loan, NFS used the funding to hire additional loan writers and set up ‘satellite branches’ in referring partners’ commercial offices to facilitate cross-sell and “increase footprint”. This allowed NFS to crystalise relationships with real estate agencies, reaping the rewards of a booming property market in Broadbeach Queensland. This innovative approach itself increased tenfold the number of referrals received.
In addition to recruitment, the loan provided NFS with the funding to acquire another trail book and invest in its partners’ co-branded collateral which was distributed across Queensland.
Words of widsom for other brokers looking for a gap in the market
NFS’s final advice to brokers, “Understand and nourish your ecosystem, including your staff, clients and referrers. We live by the model that if you look after these three stakeholders, they will look after you, and we have always found it to be absolutely true.”
Let us help
If you would like to find out about how we can help your business grow with our unique loan solutions for brokers, please contact us on 1300 139 003 or at firstname.lastname@example.org